Sidra Symposium Looks to Advance the Field of Preventive Medicine


Sidra Medicine will probe the limits of medicine when it holds its symposium on the Molecular Interception of Disease on 6 and 7 November 2016 at the Qatar National Convention Centre. Local and international speakers at the forefront of research into disease interception will gather to share knowledge, advance research and explore opportunities for collaboration.

Disease interception is a preventive medicine concept.  It involves identifying and addressing the root causes of disease through cutting-edge research, medicine and technology.  If molecular symptoms of disease can be stopped or slowed before clinical symptoms appear, health outcomes may be transformed.

The concept of preventive medicine is integral to Sidra’s mission, and its research strategy is geared towards it.  Sidra’s Chief Research Officer Dr. Francesco Marincola explained, “We are no longer treating merely the symptoms. The idea is to intervene and stop the disease from initializing. Disease prevention is the ultimate goal. This involves thinking differently about healthcare and starting the preventive journey while individuals are healthy.”

Advancements in science and medicine have now made it possible to profile genetic risks and biomarkers for a given disease. For example, in gestational diabetes mellitus, intervention uses predictive biomarkers and monitoring prior to conception.  In perinatal depression, one can identify those women most at risk before onset of the disease.

Damien Chaussabel, Director, System Biology, Translational Medicine, at Sidra, expressed his hopes for further collaborative research.  “There is enormous potential to advance the research in this field.  We hope that this symposium will be a platform for local and global discussions around how we can really harness the benefits of molecular interception with our international peers. As always, collaboration is central to Sidra’s research approach.”
Sophisticated technologies and devices are an important aspect of the whole package of disease interception solutions.  For this reason, the symposium will also explore the use of so-called “deep” phenotyping technologies.  These technologies make it possible to tailor medical treatment to the individual patient through precise and comprehensive analysis of the abnormalities behind disease.

Deep phenotyping is a crucial part of the emerging field of personalized, or “precision”, medicine.  Personalized medicine is a core research focus at Sidra, which it aims to achieve, in large part, through the translation of research knowledge into clinical care.  “Everything we do is designed to support clinicians to practice personalized medicine, whether through a high-tech IT environment, the prioritization of translational research programs, clinical practice, or our values,” Dr. Marincola said.

Sidra speakers will include: Damien Chaussabel, director, System Biology and Immunology, Translational Medicine; David Furman, investigator, System Biology and Immunology; Dr. Davide Bedognetti, director,  Tumor Biology Immunology and Therapy, Translational Medicine. Prominent international speakers include: Dr. Virginia Pascual from Baylor Institute for Immunology Research in Texas, USA; and Dr. David Klatzmann from Pierre and Marie Curie University and Medical School in Paris, France.

“Sidra’s ultimate research goal is to contribute to the health maintenance of the Qatari population. This will be achieved through Sidra’s contribution to human genome programs which aim at a better understanding of how a person’s unique molecular and genetic profile makes them vulnerable to certain diseases. Molecular interception is highly complementary since it also uses cutting-edge technology, as well as detecting molecular changes associated with the earliest stages of the disease. Pre-clinical detection of molecular symptoms then sets the stage for interception and neutralization of the disease through therapeutic intervention,” concluded Dr. Marincola.

The application of the concept of disease prevention to preclinical “molecular interception” of therapeutic responses or adverse events will also be discussed at the symposium.